Scientists at the space agency are expected to reveal the reassuring news for Earthlings at a news conference on Thursday.
Their calculations predict Asteroid 2012 DA14 will whistle past Earth on February 15 closer than the orbit of some weather and communications satellites, speeding by at a distance of 17,000 miles (27,400km).
That would be the planet‘s closest shave with an identified flying object since records began.
Asteroids and meteorites that have come closer than that have ended up colliding with the planet but this one is not thought to be a danger to either us or satellites.
It was discovered by a Spanish dentist turned amateur asteroid spotter. He is part of a team of enthusiasts who in turn are part of an army of asteroid watchers vital toNasa’s early warning system.
They are called ‘city killers’ because they would be able to wipe out a metropolitan area should they hit the planet. Nasa is thought to have tabs on only 1% of them.
So-called ‘planet killers’ are far more dangerous and hundreds have been observed. A ‘planet killer’ is widely believed to have wiped out the dinosaurs.
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